by Rob Williams on February 25, 2008 in Graphics & Displays

If building a new computer or simply upgrading, you likely want to make sure your GPU decision is a good one, all while making sure not to break the bank. We are taking a look at the EN8800GT TOP which fits the bill. Even better, it’s pre-overclocked, to improve performance even further.

Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Call of Juarez

Each graph for our benchmarking results are labeled with the resolution that the game was played at, while omitting secondary settings such as Anti-Aliasing, Anisotropic Filtering, texture quality, et cetera. To view all specific settings that we used, please refer to our testing methodology page, where we have screenshots for each game.

Half-Life 2: Episode Two

If there is one game in our line-up that most everyone has played at some point, it would be Half-Life 2. The most recent release is Episode Two, a game that took far too long to see the light of day. But despite that, it proved to be worth the wait as it delivered more of what fans loved.

We are using the Silo level for our testing, which is a level most people who haven’t even played the game know about, thanks to Valves inclusion of it in their Episode Two trailers during the year before its release. During our gameplay, we shoot down a total of three Striders (their locations are identical with each run, since we are running a saved game file) and a barn is blown to smithereens.

Overall it’s a great level, but the Strider’s minions can prove a pain in the rear at times – most notably when they headbutt you. Nothing a little flying log won’t solve, however! This levels graphics consist mostly of open fields and trees, although there is a few explosions in the process as well, such as when you blow the Striders apart with the help of the Magnusson Device.

Settings: High graphic settings are used throughout all three resolutions, with 4x AA and 8xAF.

AMD’s 3870 X2 again took the top spot, with the GTS 512 in a close second and the EN8800GT in third. At that point, our 8800 GT beat out the 8800 GTX and also improved upon Palit’s 8800 GT’s stock speeds.

Call of Juarez

Western FPS games are not common, so when one hits, people notice. Luckily for FPS fans, Call of Juarez delivered great graphics, solid gameplay and a very high difficulty. It’s a great game to benchmark due to its ability to run in DX10 mode, under Windows Vista. This mode is far more demanding than the DX9 mode, but the results are better.

We take the role of Billy Candle in the level we chose, which is rather simple in concept. We begin out at the end of a linear path that we must follow in order to reach a ravine that we must cross.

The goal of the level is to sneak through a farm and ride off with a horse in order to make the jump, but since that process takes far too long, our run through consists of following the exact same path each time, which ends up on the opposite side of the farm near an edge with water below.

Settings: Very high graphic settings are used here, although AA is never used. The fact that the game uses DX10 is enough to drag performance down.

Call of Juarez is one game that proved to be troublesome for this card, and even now, I am unable to put my finger on it. I am unsure if something is physically wrong with the card or not, but running CoJ in DX10 mode would function only half of the time. And by function, I mean run with good average FPS. Most of the time, performance would lag so horribly, it was unplayable.

Interestingly, ASUS’ own 8800 GT -and- 8800 GTS 512 cards exhibited this issue, while the Palit 8800 GT, ASUS EN8800GTX and the AMD cards had no issue whatsoever. I spent a fair amount of time searching around the net, checking out ASUS’ own forums and even contacted ASUS themselves, and have still been unable to find a solution to this problem.

As it stands though, this is the only game I have experienced issues with, and I know that other DX10 titles will run well, since Crysis and Lost Planet (both in DX10 mode) ran just fine. Despite the odd circumstances, because I’ve been unable to find proof of anyone else with this issue, I am willing to bet that it’s something that will not be experienced by you. If you however happen to own one of these cards and do experience these issues under Vista, please let me know!

Rob Williams

Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an ‘Advocate of the consumer’, focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

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